Bleats

Whose Future Is More Uncertain? Influencers Or The Trees They're Planting

Who the heck will look after the 20 million trees?

The Amazon Rainforest is burning. In August of this year, Brazil experienced 80,000 fires and over half of those took place in the Amazon. The trees are being burnt down to make way for agricultural land.

The solution to this global environmental crisis? Plant heaps and heaps trees.

That’s what YouTube influencers thought, at least. The likes of Mr Beast, jeffreestar, Hannah Stocking and more, have formed the #TeamTrees project to combat environmental degradation. So far, they’ve raised around $6 million, and for each of their fan’s dollars donated a tree will be planted. However, it turns out that this initiative may not even be that effective.

Look, I don’t mean to be the negative Nelly here so I will preface the fact that, yes, more trees are better than less. But considering our world is in a pretty pressing state right now, it turns out that waiting 100 years for tree seedlings to grow and effectively reduce emissions is probably not the best solution. Alas, we are at 6 million dollars and 6 million trees.

To make matters more complicated: these trees may not even survive. Eike Lüdeling, department head of horticultural sciences at University of Bonn told The Verge that trees actually die quite quickly if they’re not thoroughly looked after, he said: “Sometimes it’s probably a better idea to plant fewer trees and really take care of them.”

20 million trees is a hell of a goal and it begs the question: who the heck is going to look after them?

Apparently, the Arbor Day Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to planting trees has partnered up with the #TeamTrees project to plant and look after them. However, on the organisations page it states that they have “over one million members, supporters and valued partners.”

And I don’t mean to state the obvious here but one million partners isn’t a lot compared to 20 million trees…it’s, not even a lot compare to 6 million. They’ve got their hands full.

In the campaign video for #TeamTrees project, YouTuber Mark Rober, says “it’s freaking time to do something about climate change. Plus we just really love trees so this is like a fist pump to mother Earth.”

But considering watching YouTube videos leave a massive carbon footprint, perhaps he and other YouTubers should be using their fists to pump down the amount of content they produce… Just a wee thought.

"Ok Boomer" Is The Gen Z War Cry That Millennials Needed

Gen Z is shutting boomers down with an unprecedented level of sass.

Millennials: we’re an informed bunch.

We know what to say when a boomer slaps us with that one-liner: “you won’t ever own a house and it’s all your fault.” Pulling up older generations on their often misinformed opinions is a common game Millennials play. However – and it pains me to admit – Gen Z are clapping back at boomers with a level of finesse and sass us millennials have never executed before.

Gen Z have developed the catchphrase “OK Boomer” and it’s become a viral clap-back for all condescending and ill-informed boomers. Boomers who have odd opinions about things like Greta Thunberg, climate change and economics.

No one really knows where “OK Boomer” originated from, but it’s most actively used on teen-saturated app TikTok, where its hashtag has been viewed around 18 million times. The phrase has become so big in recent months, businesses are capitalising on its popularity by creating merch donning the phrase.  

Social media users employ the phrase as a humorous sort of dig, while others are emphasising it’s political undertone.

But if there’s one thing about this new trend we absolutely can not get behind, it’s the “OK Boomer” anthem. Unlike the blessing that was Fat Boy Slim’s remix of ‘Right Here, Right Now’ with Greta Thunberg’s climate summit speech, the “OK Boomer” track is… indescribable, and not in a good way.

The song’s lyrics include: “It’s funny you think I respect your opinion, when your hairline looks that disrespectful,” combined with a few random “yeehaws.” What really lets it down are the lyrics which kick-off the song: “old ladies suck.”

We just can’t stan a generalised comment throwing shade at all the grandmas out there.

The track was originally written by 20-year-old student Jonathan Williams and was remixed by 19-year-old Peter Kuli. It has since reached almost 30,000 plays on Soundcloud and has been made into roughly 4,000 TikToks.

There are two realisations to come out of the “OK Boomer” trend: Gen Z are a politically engaged bunch. Their music taste, however… quite alarming.

Here’s Why Instagram’s Ban Of The 'Plastic Surgery’ Filter Is So Important

A modified body is not an attainable beauty standard.

Here’s a small truth: even if all filters and aspects of editing were removed from Instagram, it would still be a tough platform to navigate. Keeping a positive self-image and maintaining mental health on a platform teeming with seemingly perfect lives and bodies is hard for anyone.

When you’re flooded with so many images each day you’re consuming a lot of information about how you should act, what you should have and how you should look. On top of that, many popular accounts on Instagram portray standards that are incredibly unrealistic.

Thankfully, Instagram has taken steps to quieten the unrealistic portrayal of reality. Up until recently, the platform has allowed users to employ plastic surgery filters which give them a facelift or a lip filler effect. However, the platform has announced that it’ll be banning the use of these. According to BBC a spokesperson from Instagram said:

“We’re re-evaluating our policies – we want filters to be a positive experience for people.”

It’s a huge step in the right direction. Can you imagine the consequences of plastic surgery filters becoming “trendy?” Filters like these have the potential to alter people’s perception of what “normal” is and may lead users to feel that a modified body is a natural, attainable occurrence – that’s simply not the case.

Researchers have investigated the consequences of social media filters in the past and have even identified a phenomenon called ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia.’ The results were published in the journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery in August 2019.

According to Dr Neelan Vashi, director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Centre, “patients are seeking out surgery to help them appear like the filtered versions of themselves”.

According to Independent, Dr Vashi also states that adolescents or those with BDD (body dysmorphic disorder) are particularly vulnerable to filtered images because they may more intensely internalise that modified beauty. Such research only further supports the ‘gram’s move to ban cosmetic filters.

Earlier this year, Instagram also restricted people under the age of 18 from seeing content that promoted weight loss or cosmetic products. However, the platform doesn’t ask users to specify their age, which means users as young as 10, 11 or 12 could be lying to access content restricted to those 18 and over.

It’s a slippery slope when it comes to Instagram, but if there’s one thing for sure, it’s that shutting-down sensationalised standards is always the right choice.

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